Maynard Mondays: Preseason speculation

Zach Maynard is entering his senior year and second season as Cals starting quarterback.
Tim Maloney/File
Zach Maynard is entering his senior year and second season as Cals starting quarterback.

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Welcome to the inaugural edition of Maynard Mondays, where we’ll track senior quarterback Zach Maynard’s development on the field, improvement in accuracy and decision-making and growth of his neckbeard and frohawk.

Maynard came in last season as a junior transfer from Buffalo, winning the starting job at the end of spring practice. On his second pass attempt of the season, he threw an interception. He settled down in the next three quarters, as Cal cruised to a 36-21 victory over Fresno State.

His season as a whole was characterized by highs and lows. Maynard threw three picks in a 30-9 loss to USC and four in a 31-14 beat-down by UCLA. But down the stretch, the Greensboro, N.C., native turned into a consistent game manager.

After throwing 10 interceptions in the team’s first eight games, he only threw two in the last five. He held his own against Andrew Luck, completing 20-of-29 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns in a narrow Big Game loss. Considering his improvement over the course of the season, and everything coaches have been saying during fall camp, Maynard could be poised for a big senior season.

And we’ll be here to capture all of it, on Maynard Mondays.

Here we have Sports Illustrated’s college football preview cover, featuring USC quarterback Matt Barkley.

And below is Maynard Mondays’ own little mock-up, featuring none other than Zach himself.

All joking aside, a Holiday Bowl appearance not only is very much a possibility for the Bears’ 2012 season but also would probably be considered a successful season.

The Pac-12’s third-place team is selected for the Holiday Bowl — though if Oregon and USC both make BCS bowls (one of which would be the Rose Bowl), then the league’s fourth-best team would venture to San Diego in late December. With the talent at Stanford, Washington and Utah in particular, a fourth-place finish would be a great triumph for the Bears.

Check back for the Daily Cal’s Pac-12 predictions on Thursday and, of course, next week’s edition of Maynard Mondays.